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Open fractures and common baggage handler injuries

Airline baggage handlers are highly susceptible to injury. They are required to maintain a steady pace of work while handling heavy machinery in open elements. They push their bodies to, or past, the limit on a daily basis to keep flights on-time.

Here is a summary of Osha's most frightening reports of baggage handler injuries on the tarmac:

Baggage handler injuries

  • Amputation
  • Fracture
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Equipment crashes
  • Pinned between equipment
  • Crushed limbs
  • Heat stroke
  • Lacerations

Open fractures

In many of the injuries listed above, there is a good chance of an open (or compound) fracture. When an injury occurs close to the bone, or bone meets air, the risk of infection increases greatly.

Any infection can be life-threatening, but the risks associated with bone infections are higher, because they can be more difficult to treat. If not contained, it is possible that a bone infection can lead to limb amputation.

If you experience an open fracture, remember these things:

Sterilization| During the injury, it is highly likely that bacteria or debris entered the wound. Sterilization of all surrounding tissue and bone by a medical professional must happen quickly to reduce the chance of infection.

Not all open fractures are visible| Some open fractures are obvious, with a piece of bone protruding from the skin. Others are harder to identify and sometimes underappreciated for their severity. A medical professional should assess any suspected fracture. Sometimes a fracture can have the smallest of openings disguised by a tissue wound to the area.

A medical professional should evaluate any suspected fractures to avoid complications that may hinder your ability to work.  

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